Mental Illness on Death Row
It is conservatively estimated that 5-10% of death row inmates suffer from serious mental illness. (If we expand the definition of mental illness to include severe physical or emotional damage) research has shown that nearly all Death Row inmates suffer from brain damage due to illness or trauma, while a vast number have also experienced histories of severe physical and/or sexual abuse. Mental Illness on Death Row
You don't have to be a psychiatrist, Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis says, to know that something was terribly wrong with Ricky Ray Rector, who before his execution in Arkansas ordered his last meal and asked that the pecan pie be set aside so he could have it later. Damaged Brains and the Death Penalty
We are potentially prosecuting and imposing punishment that cannot be reversed on people who may or may not understand their crime, the consequences, and the judicial process. Proponents of the death penalty sometimes say that the death penalty is meant to teach perpetrators and society as a whole that certain crimes are completely unacceptable, but what good is that if the criminal doesn't even fully understand what is going on?